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  1. 1. Accident rates<br />Motorcycles have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance travelled when compared with automobiles. According to the US Highway Safety Authority, in 2002 20.9 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes.[ HYPERLINK "" o " Wikipedia:Citation needed" citation needed] The rate for motorcycles is 66.7 per 100,000. 2004 figures from the Department for Transport in the UK indicate that motorcycles have 121 deaths or serious injuries per 100 million vehicle kilometers, compared to the corresponding figure of 2.6 for motorists.[ HYPERLINK "" o " Wikipedia:Citation needed" citation needed]<br />A national study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATS) found that:<br />Motorcycle rider death rates increased among all rider age groups between 1998 and 2000 <br />Motorcycle rider deaths were nearly 30 times more than drivers of other vehicles <br />Motorcycle riders aged below 40 are 36 times more likely to be killed than other vehicle operators of the same age. <br />Motorcycle riders aged 40 years and over are around 20 times more likely to be killed than other drivers of that age. [1] <br />According to 2005 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA, 4,008 motorcycle occupants were killed on United States roads in 2004, an 8% increase from 2003.[2]<br />During that same period, drivers of automobiles showed a 10% increase in fatalities, and cyclists showed an 8% increase in fatalities. Pedestrians also showed a 10% increase in fatalities. A total of 37,304 automobile occupants were killed on U.S. roads in 2004.[3]<br />Additional data from the United States reveals that there are over four million motorcycles registered in the United States. Motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent of all highway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.[4] This state of affairs has come about because of the motorcycle industry's reliance on its sporting activity as a major form of advertising and the consequent need to supply the public with motorcycles that resemble its competition machines. These figures show the fatal accidents on roads, but in competition the risk of having a fatal accident is nearly twice as high.[ HYPERLINK "" o " Wikipedia:Citation needed" citation needed]<br />In the United States, the primary overseer of motorcycle safety training is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. MSF operates over 1,500 " RiderCourse" sites in USA.[ HYPERLINK "" o " Wikipedia:Citation needed" citation needed]<br />[edit] Causes of accidents<br />The neutrality of this article is disputed.Please see the discussion on the talk page. (August 2008)Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.<br />Steering in the opposite direction is required at corner entry and when changing directions in S-curves<br />In mid-corner at a stable lean angle the bike will steer itself by castor effect<br />Countersteering is required again at corner exit to reduce lean angle<br />Countersteering is required to increase or decrease lean angle in every curve<br />A hypothetical curve with dry asphalt - Braking or reducing throttle reduces ground clearance when cornering<br />Given the common incidence and serious consequences of motorcycle accidents, there has been surprisingly little study of their causes. The only major work done on this subject in the USA is the Hurt Report, performed around 1980 in the Los Angeles area.<br />A major cause of motorcycle crashes, especially in curves, is the failure of riders to countersteer. Countersteering requires pressing forward on the right handgrip to turn right, and pressing on the left handgrip to turn left. In developed areas, the major cause of crashes is a motorist violating a motorcyclist's right of way, causing a collision.<br />According to the Hurt Report, speed is not a factor in the majority of crashes:<br />The path between straight-line motion and free equilibrium turn requires an initial steering motion opposite that of the steady turn. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would over brake and skid the rear wheel, and under brake the front when greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to counter steer and swerve was essentially absent. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph (48.0 km/h), and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph (34.6 km/h), and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph (138 km/h).[5]<br />This is why the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches countersteering to all students in all of its schools, as do all motorcycle racing schools. However, countersteering is not taught in driver education classes, nor in science classes. Countersteering is not a question on motorcycle rider " license" tests, which use deceptive language and defective images that falsely appear to show that motorcycles steer just like automobiles.<br />To turn, the motorcycle must lean. To lean the motorcycle, press on the handgrip in the direction of the turn. Press left-lean left-go left. Press right-lean right-go right. Higher speeds and or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more.[6]<br />Compare to the MSF Basic " RiderCourse" manual:<br />Press: To initiate motorcycle lean, press forward on the handgrip in the direction of the turn. This is referred to as countersteering (the front wheel briefly points in the opposite direction of the turn). Press left handgrip, lean left, go left. Press right handgrip, lean right, go right.[7]<br />MSF publishes its Motorcycle Operator Manual, with which most licensees are familiar: HYPERLINK "" l " cite_note-7" o " " [8]<br />The original Motorcycle Operator Manual was developed by the National Public Services Research Institute (NPSRI) under contract to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and within the terms of a cooperative agreement between NHTSA and the MSF. The manual and related tests were used in a multi-year study of improved motorcycle operator licensing procedures, conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles under contract to NHTSA.-Tim Buche, President, Motorcycle Safety Foundation<br />The MSF Motorcycle Operation Manual still censors countersteering, despite its revision in 2007, and still shows the defective diagrams of a motorcycle steering like an automobile.<br />Keith Code, director of California Superbike Schools, teaches countersteering to all riders, which until recently was considered a " top secret" by winning racers:<br />Steering happens backwards. Many riders have learned to steer a motorcycle without understanding the process. Steering is simple enough—you push the bars in the opposite direction of the direction you wish to travel. That begins the turn, and the bike leans as it turns. Deliberately turning the bars in the opposite direction of travel is known as counter steering. To go right you must turn the bars to the left—to go left, turn the bars to the right. Counter steering is the only way you can direct a motorcycle to steer accurately. In essence, motorcycle steering is backwards from most other forms of transportation. An automobile goes in the direction you turn the wheel, as do most other forms of transportation. One problem we have in learning to ride stems from a cruel trick played on us by our parents. They gave us a tricycle to pedal around. A tricycle turns in the direction you steer it. When we rode a bicycle for the first time, we fell down, and everyone said it was because we didn't have good balance. Actually, it was because bicycles also counter steer. Balance had nothing to do with it! The confusion is caused because the child expects the bike to go right when he turns to the right. Eventually, out of sheer survival instincts, he goes through the steering motions without understanding them and winds up on a motorcycle 15 years later not knowing what he has been doing to go around turns. Most riders, in an emergency, try to turn the bike in the direction they want to go. I have known people who who have ridden for 30 years without having to face an emergency situation. Then, one day a car pulls out in front of them. They try to avoid it but the bike won't do what they want it to. So they get scared and quit riding. They realize that the control they thought was there—wasn't.[9]<br />California Superbike Schools use the " No BS Bike" [10], with stationary handlebars, to prove that it's impossible to ride a bike by " leaning" or " body shifting" , without countersteering.<br />Countersteering was described over 100 years ago by Wilbur Wright, of the Wright Brothers, pioneers of the aerospace industry, who owned a bicycle factory in Dayton, Ohio.[citation needed]<br />Countersteering is required for all tandem 2-wheeled vehicles at speeds above 5 mph (8.0 km/h)<br />I have asked dozens of riders how they turn a bike to the left. I have never found a single person who stated all the facts correctly when first asked. They almost invariably said that, to turn to the left, they turned the handlebar to the left and as a result made a turn to the left. But on further questioning them, some would agree that they first turned the handlebar a little to the right, and then as the machine became inclined to the left, they turned the handlebar to the left and made a circle, inclining inwardly. To a scientific student it is very clear that without the preliminary movement of the handlebar to the right, a movement of the handlebar to the left would cause the bike to run out from under the man…yet I have found many people who would deny having ever noticed the preliminary movement of the handlebar. I have never found a non-scientific rider who had particularly noticed it and spoke of it from his own conscious observation and initiative.[11]<br />The confusion results from the shortness of the initial countersteering input required to get the bike to lean, which is only 0.500 seconds in average curves. Gentle turns might require only 0.125 seconds, while sharp turns might require 1.000 seconds of countersteering at corner entry.[12]<br />Another central conclusion of the Hurt Report was this:<br />The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.<br />Wearing white helmets, compared to black, reduces the chance of collision by 24%<br />Riders must be prepared for the unexpected<br />Furthermore:<br />Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.<br />A recent New Zealand study also agreed:<br />Fluorescent clothing, white or light colored helmets, and daytime headlights may reduce motorcycle injuries and death. Wells and colleagues (p 857) analyzed 463 motorcycle drivers admitted to hospital following a road traffic incident and 1233 other drivers (control group) to evaluate how wearing conspicuous attire affected the risk of having an accident. They found that with reflective or fluorescent clothing the risk of a crash injury was reduced by 37%, with a white helmet by 24%, and with headlights by 27%.[13]<br />Unfortunately there are other causes too, such as cars losing control, bad driver behavior and motorists falling asleep/taken ill and unconscious drivers. Deadman's braking and vigilance control can help.<br />There is also research currently being carried out into the accident style wherein the motorists, following a collision, says " Sorry, officer, I didn't see him!" This is where cars, usually in a built up area, will pull out in front of, or turn in front of, motorcyclists. Initial findings are that because an object traveling directly towards the observer is not moving in the observer's field of vision, relative to the background, it is harder for the observer to " see" or notice the oncoming motorcycle. Furthermore, because the observer can only rely on the changing size of the oncoming object to estimate its speed, as opposed to its motion relative to a stationary background object, it can be difficult to estimate the speed of an oncoming motorcycle. It is only in the final moments before the collision that the motorist " sees" the motorcycle.<br />Another factor is many motorists' failure to acknowledge road users smaller than themselves, due to the perception they will be better off in a collision. This may be a function of poor attitude, or insufficient training and disregard for other road users.<br />[edit] Controversy<br />A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claimed that " supersport" motorcycles were four times more likely to be involved in highway crashes than other types. When reprinting this press release as a news report, USA Today omitted the word " insurance" from the " Insurance Institute for Highway Safety" , giving a false impression the IIHS is a governmental agency, not a private corporation with a conflict of interest.[14]<br />According to the American Motorcyclist Association, the IIHS report is an attempt to either ban entire categories of motorcycles, or a covert attempt to legislate requirement for speed governors in all vehicles:<br />" The synopsis released by the IIHS claims that it has data showing a much higher fatality rate among so-called 'supersport' motorcycles," noted Ed Moreland, AMA Vice President for Government Relations. " But that is by no means clear, based on this report." The IIHS report is not a new study. Instead, it's an analysis of existing data from the national Fatal Accident Reporting System. The methodology consists of a comparison of fatalities for different styles of motorcycles based on a rate per 10,000 registrations. But that approach ignores a number of key factors, like the number of miles the bike was ridden, the traffic environment in which it was used, along with the age and experience of the rider, among others. In an attempt to sort through this confusion, the AMA requested a copy of the classification system the IIHS used in its analysis and found several significant anomalies. For instance, although the IIHS report focuses on speed and acceleration as the factors that make its " supersport" category so dangerous, the two most powerful motorcycles you can buy in the United States, Kawasaki's ZX-14 and Suzuki's Hayabusa, are placed in the Sport category, which is rated considerably less dangerous. And they share that category with Honda's ST1300 and Yamaha's FJR1300, two bikes that define the sport-touring class. The timing of the IIHS report is also unusual. Just this week, the National Transportation Safety Board specifically asked the Federal Highway Administration to work with states to develop uniform data-collection procedures that will result in better information about the number of miles traveled by motorcycles, one of the most important factors in evaluating crash statistics. As a result, this could be one of the final reports to use registration data exclusively, which is less accurate in reflecting actual motorcycle use. This new IIHS report is remarkably similar to a study the group financed 20 years ago that also purported to show higher fatality rates among sportbikes. At that time, the IIHS used its study as the springboard for a well-orchestrated campaign that included ready-made news footage it fed to TV news operations across the country. That campaign culminated in the introduction of a bill in the U.S. Senate to impose a horsepower limit on all motorcycles sold in the U.S. In response to that previous attempt by the IIHS to ban sportbikes, the AMA conducted an analysis of the study and raised questions that the Association submitted to Harry Hurt, lead researcher on the most comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes ever conducted. Hurt reviewed the research and declared it " fatally flawed" for exactly the kind of methodology problems seen in the new IIHS report. The Association then coordinated a campaign among motorcyclists across the country that eventually led the senator to withdraw his proposed legislation. Ironically, the new IIHS report comes out just as the AMA and the motorcycling community have been successful in getting federal funding for the first comprehensive motorcycle safety study since the Hurt Report all those years ago. And thanks to funding from the industry, through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, along with the AMA and individual riders, that study will begin this fall.[15]<br />[edit] Consequences of accidents<br />This section does not cite any references or sources.Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (May 2008)<br />A motorcyclist struggles to remove his helmet after sustaining a minor hand injury through losing control on a wet corner.<br />Once the collision has occurred, or the rider has lost control through some other mishap, several common types of injury occur when the bike falls:<br />Collision with less forgiving protective barriers, or badly placed roadside " furniture" (lampposts, signs, fences etc.) This is often simply a result of poor road design, and can be engineered out to a large degree. Note that when one falls off a motorcycle in the middle of a curve, lamps and signs create a " wall" of sorts with little chance to avoid slamming against a pole. <br />Concussion and brain damage, as the head violently contacts other vehicles or objects. This risk is massively reduced by wearing properly fitting, standards-approved head protection. <br />Breakage of joints (elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists), fingers, spine and neck, for the same reason. The most common breakages are the shoulder and the pelvis. <br />Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage (road rash) as the body slides across the surface at speed. This can be prevented entirely with the proper use of motorcycle-specific protective apparel such as a leather jacket or reinforced denim and textile pants. <br />There is also a condition known as biker's arm, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged during the fall, causing a permanent paralysis of arm movement. <br />Facial disfigurement, if in the absence of a full-face helmet, the unprotected face slides across the ground or smashes into an object. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area.[16] <br />The Hurt Report also commented on injuries after an accident:<br />The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents - 98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.<br />[edit] Personal protective equipment<br />Main article: Motorcycle safety clothing<br />A motorcyclist wearing full safety clothing of helmet, gloves, boots and leathers<br />To address the risks of motorcycling, before and after a fall, motorcyclists use personal protective equipment (PPE, or more commonly " motorcycle gear" ). Many developed countries now require certain articles of PPE, and manufacturers and governments recommend its extensive use.<br />[edit] Functions of PPE<br />Improved Visibility — Although for decades the popular image of the motorcycle rider has been of someone clad head-to-toe in black leather, in the light of the Hurt Report findings, and the day-to-day experiences of motorcyclists themselves, many riders choose higher-visibility gear. Bright colors and retroreflective strips are common on quality equipment. <br />Abrasion Resistance — Thick, tough leather provides the most abrasion resistance in a crash, but fabrics such as cordura, kevlar and ballistic nylon provide significant protection too. In addition, fabrics are generally cheaper, easier to maintain, waterproof, and more comfortable in hot weather. Thick leather, which affords the most abrasion resistance, can be uncomfortable in temperatures exceeding 85 °F (29 °C) and above 100 °F (38 °C) may cause heat stress & loss of control with insufficient fluid replacement. Some PPE may be constructed of fabrics made into a 'mesh' that provides cooling and a stable surface for the attachment of padding (see below). <br />Padding — Quality jackets and pants provide significant extra padding in the vulnerable joint regions described above. This can take the form of simple foam padding, or dual-density foam that stiffens when compressed, sometimes with plastic or carbon fiber outer-shells that distribute the impact across the pad. Integrated pieces can be found in some jackets. <br />Weather Protection — One important aspect of PPE not mentioned above is protection from the elements. Extreme weather can make a long ride unbearable or dangerous. PPE provides protection from wind, rain and cold. <br />[edit] Items of PPE<br />Full-face helmet credited for saving user HYPERLINK "" o "" [12]<br />Helmet — A full-face helmet provides the most protection. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area HYPERLINK "" l " cite_note-JeffDean1-15" o " " [16]. However, 3/4- and 1/2-helmets also are available. Some motorcycle training sites have banned the use of half-helmets because of avoidable injuries sustained by riders wearing them. <br />Gloves — Commonly made of leather, cordura, or kevlar, or some combination. Some include carbon fiber knuckle protection or other forms of rigid padding. Gloves designed specifically for motorcycle use have slightly curved fingers and the seams are on the outer surfaces to allow the motorcyclist to maintain his grip and control on the handlebars and clutch/brake levers. Some gloves also provide protection to the wrist. <br />Jackets — Generally made from leather, ballistic nylon, cordura, kevlar or other synthetics. Most jackets include special padding on elbows, spine and shoulders. Airbag system technology is now available fitted to jackets and vests for accident protection and impact protection for both riders and pillions. Competition-approved hard armor is superior to soft padding. Competition-approved back and chest protectors can be worn underneath jackets. Inflatable airbag jackets can offer an additional airbag for neck support. <br />Pants — Made of the same material as jackets, usually including special protection for the knees and hips. Some people prefer cotton denim jeans with kevlar reinforcement. <br />Boots — Especially those for sport riding, include reinforcement and plastic caps on the ankles, and toe area. Boots designed for cruiser-style riders often have steel-reinforced toes (However this reduces sensitivity of the foot when changing gear). Boots should always have a rubber sole (as opposed to leather or other less-flexible materials). Despite their toughness and protection, most boots are very lightweight. Some even include titanium plating. <br />Goggles or Helmet Visor — Eye protection is of utmost importance - an insect or a kicked-up pebble in the eye at speed has enough momentum to cause significant damage. Such an event could easily cause the rider to lose control and crash. Besides this danger, squinting into the wind is unpleasant at best and watering eyes are quite distracting. <br />Ear plugs — Most riders experience substantial wind noise at speeds above 40-50 mph; at speeds of 65-70 mph, hearing damage can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Ear plugs help protect against hearing damage, and reduce fatigue during long rides. <br />Vests — Made with high-visibility colors and retroreflective materials, vests can be worn over jackets to increase the chance of being seen and allow drivers to better judge the speed and position of riders, especially in adverse conditions of dark and wet. <br />Other PPE — Dirt bike riders wear a range of plastic armor to protect against injury from falling and hitting other riders and bikes, running into track barriers, and being hit by flying debris kicked up by the tires of other riders' bikes. This type of armor typically covers the back, chest, and sometimes the extremities. <br />Note: It is increasingly common for gloves, jackets, pants, and boots to be outfitted with hard plastics on probable contact areas in an effort to ensure that when a motorcyclist contacts the ground, his clothing will permit him to slide relatively easily as opposed to " crumpling" , risking injury to body parts being stressed in abnormal directions.<br />Since the first line of protection in crash contact is the outer shell of clothing, designers have moved that further from the body. The ultimate protective shell so far is an airbag that stays with the driver as he flies off the bike. However increasing use of " exoskeleton" plastic shields attached to clothing points toward design of a complete roll bar belted to the driver. A near-stage design is a plastic or light alloy double " wheel" perimeter rim around the driver, over his head and in front and behind him. When the driver unbelts himself and gets off the bike, he leaves the wheel roll bar with the bike. But when the driver flies off the bike, the roll bar flies with him and makes contact with hard surfaces. The driver is relatively safe from contact, belted within a contact rim extending out around him.<br />Riders sometimes use the acronyms " MOTGMOTT" and " ATGATT" , which stand for " Most Of The Gear Most Of The Time" and " All The Gear All The Time" , when describing their personal gear preferences.<br />[edit] Training<br />Novice motorcyclists being trained<br />In many developed countries riders are now either required or encouraged to attend safety classes in order to obtain a separate motorcycle driving license.<br />Training can help to bridge the gap between a novice and experienced rider as well as improving the skills of a more experienced rider. Skills training would seem to be the answer to reducing the KSI (" killed or seriously injured" ) rate among motorcycle riders. However research shows that some who undergo advanced skills training are more likely to be at a higher risk while using the roads (Rutter & Quine, 1996) HYPERLINK "" l " cite_note-16" o " " [17]. This risk compensation effect was commented on in the findings of the evaluation of the “Bikesafe Scotland,” scheme where a number of those who undertook training said they rode faster in non-built-up areas after the course (Ormston et al, 2003)[18]. This is not to say that training in not important, but that more advanced training should be tempered with psychological training (Broughton 2005) HYPERLINK "" l " cite_note-18" o " " [19]<br />A rider receives individual coaching from an MSF instructor.<br />In the United States, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) provides a standardized curriculum to the states that, in turn, provide low cost safety training for new and current riders. Two states, Oregon and Idaho, eschew MSF's curriculum in favor of their own. Even with over 1,500 locations in USA, and over 120,000 annual students, MSF only trains about 3% of the owners of 4,000,000 new motorcycles sold for highway use.[20]. Motorcycle injuries and fatalities among U.S. military personnel has continually risen since the early 2000s [21]. Among other DoD-initiated programs, the Air National Guard seeks to understand why national safety programs haven't sufficiently reduced mishaps, and how those programs might be modified to cause productive behaviorial change. Led by the ANG's Ground and Industrial Safety Division, in coordination with the MSF, the RideANG program can be found in external links listed below [22].<br />In the United Kingdom, for example, organizations such as the IAM and RoSPA offer advanced motorcycle rider training with the aim of reducing accident rates. There is often an added incentive to riders in the form of reduced insurance premiums.<br />In Canada, the Canada Safety Council (CSC), a non-profit organization, provides motorcycle safety training courses for beginner and novice riders through its Gearing Up training program. Again, as in the USA and UK, the focus is on improved rider skills to reduce accident rates. Insurance premiums may be reduced upon successful completion as this program is recognised and supported nationally by the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council (MMIC).<br />[edit] Authors<br />Several authors have written books on motorcycle safety and rider skills improvement. One of the best known is David Hough who has written (as of 2006) a series of three books on the subject, and created a sidecar training course.<br />[edit] Motorcycle equipment<br />On most new motorcycles, the headlights turn on as soon as the bike is started as a legal requirement. Some bikes have modulated headlights. This is accomplished using headlight modulators. This is a still a subjective issue in some European countries. The argument is that the forced use of the headlight will lose all safety benefits if cars are also required to have their lights " hardwired." There is also an argument that the forced use of the headlight is seen as " aggressive" by other road users and so reinforces negative stereotypes of bike riders held by some. Modulators are legal in the US and Canada.[23] . It has been suggested that bright yellow front turn signals would be more practical and more effective than headlights in the daytime [24].<br />Crash bars (also called " safety bars," or " roll bars" ) are common equipment on cruiser-type bikes. They are designed to protect a rider's legs (and the motor) from injury in a rollover and in a glancing contact with other vehicles. Critics claim these only work if the accident doesn't throw the rider away from the motorcycle, or alternatively, trap them under the bike. This is true but if the machine was designed with the rider seated in a safety cage within the machine rather than on top the he could be retained in position with a seat belt. e.g. the BMW C1. The Hurt Report concluded this regarding crash bars:<br />Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.<br />[edit] Airbag Devices<br />Fuel tank mounted airbags as well as wearable jacket airbag devices change the way we think about the risks involved with motorcycles. Accidents occur within a very short time and a rider may not be able to instinctively protect him or herself when a crash takes place. This is where an airbag device becomes useful and potentially lifesaving.<br />The first motorcycle crash tests with an airbag were performed in 1973 and proved that airbag systems could be advantageous to a rider. These tests were followed up by tests in the 1990s that showed airbag devices could not fully restrain a rider when traveling more than 30 mph (48 km/h), but it still reduced a rider’s velocity and his/her trajectory. Honda has recently developed a fuel tank mounted airbag for the Goldwing model that takes just 0.15 seconds to deploy. Crash sensors in the front wheel send data to the airbag ECU (electronic control unit) which in turn activates the airbag inflater. The airbag then takes the force of the rider.<br />Fuel tank mounted airbags can aid in saving many lives. It has been proven with crash test dummies that this type of airbag technology is very beneficial during a frontal collision. This is important because statistically, 62% of motorcycle accidents in the U.S. are frontal collisions. Additional tests were performed to show that when a motorcycle rider impacts a car during a frontal collision, the fuel tank mounted airbag averts the person from traveling into the vehicle. This significantly reduced the head trauma by 83% that otherwise would have occurred according to the data from the crash test dummy. A rider would have lived with an airbag, whereas the fatality rate would be higher without the airbag. It has also been pointed out that this can only work if the accident is at low speed and follows the same dynamics as a car accident. It should be viewed as passenger vehicle airbags - a worthwhile supplement, but not as a replacement for any other safety devices including a change in the basic design of road going motorcycles.<br />The second airbag device that can save lives is an inflatable airbag jacket. A rider can wear an airbag jacket that is tethered to the motorcycle, so if he or she is thrown from the bike during a collision, the jacket will automatically inflate for a 20 second period to provide a cushion for the rider. This will lessen the upper body and internal injuries to a rider that may often be fatal. The majority of the airbag jackets on the market are tethered to the motorcycle, but Dainese has a technology called D-Air which has a built-in computer chip. This computer chip constantly detects the rider’s environment and if it detects a collision, the jacket will then self-inflate. This jacket is currently aimed specifically at the racing environment and undergoing testing by Dainese-sponsored riders. Hit Air, the maker of another airbag jacket, performed tests on its jacket which showed that its safety effectiveness surpassed that of a normal riding jacket or a jacket with extra padding protection. The airbag jackets provide reusable airbag protection to the neck, chest, back, shoulders, hips, bottom and spine. Cost of airbag jackets are approx $US500.<br />As demand for safety measures increases, so the need for motorcycle airbags may grow in popularity over the coming years. Yamaha and Suzuki are currently testing airbag systems, so they will be available on additional motorcycles and so that more people will request airbag devices more often. This airbag technology is very affordable when you look at the “big picture”. According to Honda’s web site, the Goldwing model motorcycle currently retails for US$23,099 and the airbag is only an additional US$1,250 option.<br />According to the data from the crash test dummies, a motorcycle rider’s life would be saved if he or she would use one of these airbag devices. With the advances in this technology, it may be possible to apply this knowledge to produce airbags for jet-skis, ATVs, and go-karts.<br />[edit] See also<br />Driver visibility <br />List of motorcycle deaths in U.S. by year <br />Pedestrian safety through vehicle design <br />Highsider <br />Lowsider <br />[edit] References<br />^ " Motorcyclists - Crashes" . Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATS). <br />^ " Motorcycle Helmets Fact Sheet" . Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Retrieved on 2007-06-26. <br />^ United States Department of Transportation, Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia 1994-2005[1] <br />^ " Motorcycle Safety" , NHTSA. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.  <br />^ Dr. Hugh H. Hurt, PhD., U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA, Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007, Contract No. DOT HS-5-01160, January 1981 (Final Report)[2] <br />^ Tennessee Department of Safety, Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual, 2004[3] <br />^ Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Basic " RiderCourse" Rider Handbook, 2007[4] <br />^ Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Motorcycle Operator Manual, Revised 2007 [5] <br />^ Keith Code, California Superbike School, A Twist of the Wrist, 1983[6] <br />^ California Superbike School, " No B.S. Machine" [7] <br />^ Wilbur Wright, The Wright Brothers, F.C. Kelly, Ballentine, 1966 <br />^ National Public Services Research Institute, " Photographic Analysis of Motorcycle Operator Control Responses" , 1976[8] <br />^ Susan Wells et al. (April 10, 2004). " Motorcycle rider conspicuity and crash related injury: case-control study" . BMJ. Retrieved on 2007-06-26. Abstract, Quick summary <br />^ Thomas Frank, USA Today, " Study: 'Supersport' cycles step up risk," September 10, 2007[9] <br />^ American Motorcyclist Association, " Conclusions misleading in new IIHS report, AMA says," September 13, 2007[10] <br />^ a b Dietmar Otte. " Why should you wear a full-face helmet? (presenting Otte's figure" . Hannover Medical University, Dept. of Traffic Accident Research, Germany. <br />^ Rutter, D. R. & L. Quine (1996) Age and experience in motorcycling safety. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 28(1): 15-21. <br />^ Ormston, R., A. Dudleston, S. Pearson & S. Stradling. (2003) Evaluation of Bikesafe Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research. <br />^ Broughton, P.S. (2005) Designing PTW training to match rider goals in Driver Behaviour and Training Vol II edited by L. Dorn. <br />^ Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Safe Cycling, Summer 1998[11] <br />^ DoD campaign to reduce negative motorcycle trend, <br />^ ANG's RideANG Motorcycle Safety Program, <br />^ " Motorcycle Headlight Modulator Regulations" . webBikeWorld. Retrieved on 2006-12-30. <br />^ " Daytime running lights for motorcycles" . <br />[edit] Further reading<br />Bayly, M., Regan, M., & Hosking, S. (2006). Intelligent transport systems and motorcycle safety. [Report No. 260]. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University, Accident Research Centre. <br />Berg, F. A., & Rucker, P. (2002). Airbag prototype for a mid-sized touring motorcycle. Interational Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury Conference. Stuttgart, Germany: DEKRA Automobil. <br />Blanchard, H. T., & Tabloski, P. A. (2006). Motorcycle safety: Educating riders at the teachable moment. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 32(4), 330-332. <br />Elliott, M. A., Baughan, C. J., Broughton, J., Chinn, B., Grayson, G. B., Knowles, J., et al. (2003). Motorcycle safety: A scoping study. [Report No. TRL581]. Transport Research Laboratory. <br />Huang, B., & Preston, J. (2004). A literature review on motorcycle collisions: Final report. Oxford University, Transport Studies Unit. <br />Honda. (2006). 2007 Honda gold wing pricing. Retrieved May 21, 2007, from <br />Motorcyclist. (n.d.). Honda introduces motorcycle airbag on 2006 gold wing. Retrieved May 21, 2007, from <br />Pierce, A. (2002). The personal airbag. Tech Directions, 61(7), 10. <br />" Fatal Single Vehicle Motorcycle Crashes, report by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" (October, 2001). <br />" Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures (AKA the " Hurt Report" )" . US National Technical Information Service (January 1981). <br />" Casualty rates: by road user type and severity: 1994 to 2004" . Department of Transport, UK. <br />" In-Depth Study of Motorcycle Accidents" . Department of Transport, UK (November, 2004). <br />1<br />[edit] External links<br />